Teresa Weatherspoon is here to ‘stir things up’ for the Chicago Sky

The Rise of Teresa Weatherspoon: Chicago Sky Introduces WNBA Hall of Famer as New Coach

Weatherspoon’s hiring marks a turning point for the Sky as they aim to rebound from a challenging season

October 24, 2023

The 1999 WNBA Eastern Conference finals between the New York Liberty and Charlotte Sting had an unmistakable mood: “no Teresa Weatherspoon, no win.” Fast forward to Tuesday, and the Chicago Sky made a statement by introducing Weatherspoon, a Hall of Famer, as their new coach. Co-owner and operating chairman Nadia Rawlinson welcomed attendees to the introductory news conference, proclaiming it as the dawn of the next era for the Sky.

Rawlinson acknowledged that 2023 was a crucial year for the Sky, marked by a valuation of $85 million, making them the second-most valuable franchise in the WNBA. The ownership group, including NBA legend Dwyane Wade and a team of women investors, grew and diversified. However, the season was also marred by the loss of key players, the departure of the head coach/GM, and a struggle to find their identity on and off the court.

Hiring Weatherspoon serves as a clear statement of intent for the Sky. They believe that she is the future and the key to their rebound. Weatherspoon’s energy and excitement were palpable during the introductory event, as she exuded the same intensity and passion that made her a standout player in the WNBA.

Weatherspoon’s journey to becoming head coach of the Sky is rooted in her impressive career as a player. She was selected 10th overall by the New York Liberty in the inaugural WNBA draft in 1997 and spent seven of her eight years with the team. She led the Liberty to the WNBA Finals in 1997 and 1999, known for her defensive prowess. Weatherspoon was also the first-ever WNBA Defensive Player of the Year.

After retiring as a player, Weatherspoon embarked on a coaching career in the American Basketball Association and at her alma mater, Louisiana Tech. She gained recognition for her close relationship with NBA star Zion Williamson during her time with the New Orleans Pelicans. Weatherspoon joins the ranks of five other former WNBA players who now serve as head coaches, including the 2023 WNBA champion Becky Hammon.

During the introduction, Weatherspoon sat between Rawlinson and Sky All-Star Kahleah Copper, showcasing a strong bond and a shared energy. Weatherspoon expressed her excitement and vowed to give her all as head coach. She affirmed the Sky’s mission to take over Chicago and emphasized her desire to pour into the players and lead them to success.

Weatherspoon’s close relationship with Copper is evident, as they share a similar vigor both on and off the court. Copper spoke highly of her new coach, highlighting their connection and energy that sparked an instant bond between them.

The importance of building connections and fostering close relationships with players was emphasized by Weatherspoon. She believes that creating a supportive environment will be instrumental in the team’s success.

The Sky’s guard Dana Evans, currently playing overseas, is excited to be a part of Weatherspoon’s team. Evans acknowledges Weatherspoon’s wealth of knowledge and expects her to push the team to reach their fullest potential.

While Weatherspoon’s hiring brings newfound optimism to the Sky, attention now shifts to the search for a new general manager. Following the departure of former coach/GM James Wade, the team decided to separate the positions. Rawlinson emphasized that the Sky does things differently and wanted to prioritize the coaching role before finalizing the GM hire. The team recognizes the importance of finding the right person to navigate roster construction and cap space.

With Weatherspoon’s extensive experience and accolades, the spotlight now shines brighter on the impending GM hire. The franchise is at a critical juncture, with the need for a practice facility that meets professional standards and the challenge of recruiting top talent through free agency rather than the draft. Despite the obstacles, Rawlinson and Weatherspoon maintain that the team is not playing catch-up and are confident in their vision for success.

As Weatherspoon concluded her opening remarks, emotions overwhelmed her as she reflected on her journey. She expressed gratitude and the magnitude of this opportunity, emphasizing the significance of this moment. With Weatherspoon at the helm, the Chicago Sky is ready to turn their fortunes around and create a new legacy in the WNBA.


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